Court Dismisses As Moot Lawsuit Over Unlawful Immigrant’s Abortion

When a pregnant minor unlawful immigrant sought to get an abortion while in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Office’s policy prohibited her from getting an abortion without the Director’s permission. The minor moved for a temporary restraining order of the policy, which the district court granted. The minor then attended preabortion counseling as required under Texas law where she was sheltered. A panel of the D.C. Circuit vacated the district court’s order the next day. But four days later, the D.C. Circuit sitting en banc reversed that ruling and reinstituted the TRO. The Government intended to ask for an emergency rehearing of the en banc order with the Supreme Court, but did not file it immediately, thinking (apparently based on representations by the minor’s counsel) that the minor had to do preabortion counseling again before getting the abortion. Instead, the minor’s counsel was able to schedule the abortion procedure before dawn the next morning. The Court, in a per curiam opinion, dismissed the case as moot, and declined to find that the minor’s counsel engaged in material misrepresentations to thwart the Government’s efforts at review. A link to the opinion in Azar v. Garza is here.